In today’s world, many American suffer from some type of mental illness. Thankfully, it is not as “taboo” as it used to be, and we have a better understanding of how important it is to receive treatment for such conditions.
If you have a mental condition that is so severe that you cannot work in any capacity for an eight-hour day, five days per week, you can apply for Social Security. Often, Social Security benefits are not approved based on one stand-alone condition. However, it is possible, though it may take a bit longer.
When you apply for Social Security, the advice is always the same: make sure you let the Social Security Administration (SSA) know about: all of your conditions that affect your ability to function and work; all of the physicians, clinics, and hospitals you have been to for treatment for all of those conditions; and any medications you are on for your conditions.
Once your claim is given to a disability examiner, they request all records from all providers you told them about. A good disability examiner will also requires medical records from providers that you left out, but that are mentioned in your other medical records.
When determining disability based on mental health alone, the examiner will evaluate whether you are: (1) able to understand, carry out, and remember simple instructions; (2) able to use good judgment and make basic decisions related to work; (3) able to respond appropriately to work situations and others in the work place such as supervisors and co-workers; and (4) able to respond, and adapt to, changes in the work environment.
If there is not enough evidence in the medical records provided by your physicians, SSA may send you to a mental evaluation by one of their doctors. Stay tuned for a future blog that discusses what you can expect from a Social Security mental evaluation.
In upcoming post we will discuss, “What Should I Expect at a Social Security Mental Evaluation?“